Allen Jenkins

This article is about the American character actor. For other people with similar names, see Allan Jenkins (disambiguation).
Allen Jenkins

Jenkins in Havana Widows (1933)
Born Alfred McGonegal
(1900-04-09)April 9, 1900
Staten Island, New York, U.S.
Died July 20, 1974(1974-07-20) (aged 74)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, Singer
Years active 1923–1974
Spouse(s) Mary Landee
Children 3

Allen Jenkins (born Alfred McGonegal, April 9, 1900 – July 20, 1974) was an American character actor and singer who worked on stage, film and television.[1]

Life and career

George Barbier, Willard Robertson, Claude Cooper, Allen Jenkins and William Foran in the original Broadway production of The Front Page (1928)

Jenkins was born Alfred McGonegal on Staten Island, New York on April 9, 1900.[2] He studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In his first stage appearance, he danced next to James Cagney in a chorus line for an off-Broadway musical called Pitter-Patter, earning five dollars a week. He also appeared in Broadway plays between 1923 and 1962, including The Front Page (1928). His big break came when he replaced Spencer Tracy for three weeks in the Broadway play The Last Mile.

Jenkins was called to Hollywood by Darryl F. Zanuck and signed first to Paramount Pictures and shortly afterward to Warner Bros. His first role in films came in 1931, when he appeared as an ex-convict in the short Straight and Narrow. He had originated the character of Frankie Wells in the Broadway production of Blessed Event and reprised the role in its film adaptation, both in 1932.[3] With the advent of talking pictures, he made a career out of playing comic henchmen, stooges, policemen, taxi drivers and other 'tough guys' in numerous films of the 1930s and 1940s, especially for Warner Bros. Allen Jenkins was labeled the "greatest scene-stealer of the 1930s" by The New York Times. In 1959, Jenkins played the role of elevator operator Harry in the comedy Pillow Talk.[3]

Jenkins later voiced the character of Officer Charlie Dibble on the Hanna-Barbera TV cartoon, Top Cat (1961–62). He was a regular on the television sitcom Hey, Jeannie! (1956–57), starring Jeannie Carson and often portrayed Muggsy on the 1950s-1970s CBS series The Red Skelton Show. He was also a guest star on many other television programs, such as The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mr. & Mrs. North, I Love Lucy, Playhouse 90, The Ernie Kovacs Show, Zane Grey Theater, and Your Show of Shows. He had a cameo appearance in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). Eleven days before his death, he made his final appearance, at the end of Billy Wilder's remake of The Front Page (1974); it was released posthumously.[3]

He went public with his alcoholism and was the first actor to speak in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate about it. He helped start the first Alcoholics Anonymous programs in California prisons for women.

Jenkins, James Cagney, Pat O'Brien and Frank McHugh were the original members of the so-called "Irish Mafia". He was the seventh member of the Screen Actors Guild.[3] Jenkins died of lung cancer early on July 20, 1974. He was 74 years old.[3]

Partial filmography



  1. Hemming, Roy (1999-06-03). The Melody Lingers On: The Great Songwriters and Their Movie Musicals. Newmarket Press. pp. 295–. ISBN 9781557043801. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  2. Allen Jenkins background,; accessed June 6, 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Allen Jenkins at the Internet Movie Database

External links

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